No therapy today.

May 11, 2009

You might have seen Daphne Merkin’s article on chronic depression in the New York Times Magazine.   I’m not in the same league, at all, and I can’t imagine living as she has.  I suppose I should be grateful that I’ve only now begun to deal with counseling and drugs and such, but this is what leapt out at me:

But even as I talked and laughed with the other guests, my thoughts were dark, scrambling ones, ruthless in their sniping insistence.  You’re a failure.  A burden.  Useless.  Worse than useless.  Worthless.

That’s the loop.  While I can ignore it some times, particuarly if I’m going about easy, punching-the-clock type of things, when I sit down to write or think about academic work, as I did today, since there’s a deadline coming up for an important conference in a very appealling locale, it starts up again. 

Why try?  You’re going to do all this work and get your hopes up and then you’re going to get shot down.  Again.  Why waste everyone’s time?  You don’t really have anything to offer.  Nothing to say that can’t be said better.

And even on the rare occasions that I can temporarily drown out that chorus, I’m completely overwhelmed at what it is I’m supposed to do.  Which is write, every day, for the rest of my life.  Or for the rest of the year, at least.  Sit down and write, in spite of that drone which assures me of nothing but failure.   And yet I’m failing now, as it is, by not writing.

Bravery is supposedly being afraid of something, and then carrying on with it anyway.  I don’t think I’m very brave.  And even if I were to pull myself together, skirt up, and do this thing, what sort of self-hating insanity is it to dedicate yourself to a profession that almost literally drives you crazy?  Is that bravery worth lauding?


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